Class Warfare

31 Jul

Have you ever noticed that the only people who suggest anything about class warfare are those who are wealthy enough to take advantage of the broken economic system.

It’s not entirely unlike a school bully, who punches you in the face and steals your lunch money on a daily basis, accusing you of being a thief after you admitted to your parents that you may not have had full use of said lunch money throughout the school year.

Advertisements

About Me

22 Mar

Many people describe me as genuine, and I believe it is due to my bluntness and the fact that I rarely lie. Many people also describe me as over-analytical about most things. That’s where the blog name comes from.

I don’t have a lot of money, but I am rich in love with my family. I have the mind of an engineer without the degree (though I’m working on that). I have ADHD and Asperger’s, which, when combined with the fact that I didn’t have much of an inspiring role model, comprises most of the reasons that I don’t have said degree. For now, I’m a security officer working at Intel.

I’m more spiritual than religious, but if I’m to name a religion, I would say that I identify most as a New Order Latter-day Saint, which are an unorganized conglomerate of members of the CoJCoL-dS (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) who have learned the truth about the historicity and/or culture of the Church and for some reason(s) or other have decided to remain some level of active in the Church. I happen to fit on the active side of that spectrum.

Politically, I’m a little left of center. I don’t wish to associate myself with any political party, but my views are closer to the current Democratic party than the current Republican party. I say ‘current’ because as anyone who knows their history knows, the views of the party change over time. Personally, I think that the entire political system should be scrapped and remade, because the way it is now is not conducive to encourage politicians to act on behalf of the people that they represent.

As far as books, I like to read fantasy, sci-fi, and modern physics (yes, recreationally). My current favorite author is Steven Brust. I used to be a big fan of Stephen Hawking (I even attended his lecture at the University of Portland when I was in high school), but I don’t agree with some of his current theories. I do like Roger Penrose however.

My music tastes are varied, but I don’t usually like pop, hardcore rap, or depressing country. I like to say that I like anything that doesn’t suck, but the same can be said of anyone, no matter how narrow their taste in music.

My media tastes are much like my taste in books. I like Doctor Who, Fringe, and Firefly; Lord of the Rings, Inception, and The Dark Knight; and a host of shows on the Science, History, and Discovery Channels. I also like shows like Undercover Boss, Shark Tank, and Extreme Makeover.

Dear Google Maps,

22 Mar

I use your service often, and for the most part, it works great, but there are a couple of things that I’d like for you to change to make it even better. When I’m trying to find a store or someone’s house, your service works wonderfully, but when I’m trying to find large places, such as state parks or military instillations, your service has some much needed adjustments to make. Below I will site three examples that I, personally, have experienced.

The first instance was while I was in the Army. I was driving from my home in Oregon, to my new duty station at Fort Riley, Kansas. I followed the directions perfectly and everything was fine, until I actually got to the fort. Instead of taking me through one of three, perfectly acceptable, entrances, including one which goes directly from the main freeway onto the post, Google Maps had me go all the way around to the back of the post where I had encountered a dirt road which was obviously only supposed to be traversed by military vehicles.

The second instance was late last year (2012). My family packed into our van and headed up into an area of Washington that we had never been to before, for a dog hunt test. We followed the directions and ended staring at a farm in the middle of nowhere, which was not the state park which we were attempting to find. We ended up retracing our course back to the highway and found a big sign telling us where to turn shortly after the turn that we were directed to take by the directions.

The third time was just recently. My wife and I went to the Oregon Gardens for our anniversary. Again, the directions were great all the way into Silverton, but then we were told to turn down the wrong road and ended up staring at some very nice houses, none of which had any association with the Gardens, other than being less than a mile away. We went back to the main road, and found that, yet again, if we had just waited, there was a clearly marked entrance to where we wanted to go.

So there you have it. Three examples of the Google Maps service not performing well. If one is to notice a trend, I would suggest that it is that the directions tell the traveler to turn too early. If I am to make a suggestion as to the solution, you may consider making the location indicators for such places be the location of the main entrance to the area instead of the ones that have been established. I’m certain that a simple change like that would make a great difference in the accuracy of the directions given.

Thank you for your consideration,
Chris F.

My Wonderful Family

15 Oct

I don’t have the most noteworthy life. I will most likely not be remembered in any history books. You aren’t likely to see me on TV, in a movie, or on the radio, and as far as social networks, very few people give a crap what I’ll post.

I want to be a lot of things that I’m not: an engineer, an outdoorsman, a decent mechanic, a builder of helpful structures, a writer, a philosopher. There are literally dozens of projects that I’ve started or at least put a decent amount of thought into, but never finished.

My youngest son is quite a character. Unfortunately, he loves to make inappropriate comments about poop, farts, and private parts. He also has an extremely short attention span and tends to goof off to the point of being really rowdy when he gets bored. He always loves to be the center of attention and can come up with some pretty creative ways of getting that attention. He really loves to snuggle though, and it is rare to see him sleep by himself. I am usually not able to sleep with him because he tends to kick at me in his sleep and take up as much of the bed as possible. In all he is an amazing, handsome, creative boy.

My older daughter is pretty, creative, brilliant and spirited. Unfortunately, she already has the know-it-all attitude of a teenager even though she is nowhere near that old. She is in love with Justin Beiber. She loves to draw. She gets good grades without really trying to. She is also very much a social creature who is going to be popular is high school. I’m certain that she can be whatever she wants to be in life.

My oldest son can be very kind, or very angry. He has a major case of ADHD, and as a result finds it hard to function on anything that doesn’t involve a game, without his medication. When someone is hurt, he is often the first to try to help, but when it comes to doing house work or homework, it is often very hard to get him on task and staying on task. He comes up with some pretty creative things to do, even if 90% of them involve Nerf guns. He is a good kid, though he thinks that he has limits that don’t actually exist. It hurts to see the same crippling fear of failure that I have had most of my life. If I do one thing for I him, if only one thing I try to teach him sinks in, it would be that he is his most limiting factor. He is better than a life of minimum wage jobs and playing video games, but I’m afraid that is where he is heading.

My wife is truly my counterbalance in life. We perfectly match each other’s strengths and weaknesses. I wish she would get over her previous marriage, so that I can stop paying for her ex’s previous mistakes, though those incidents are much less frequent than they were when we met. She drives me nuts with the way she waists stuff, but I love her beyond reason.

Last, my baby girl. Making her, or at least doing my part, was without a doubt the best, most successful, and worthwhile thing I’ve ever done in my life. It has been amazing watching her grow these past few months and there is nothing that I would rather do than be with her. I can imagine infinite possibility in her eyes.

That is my family. They are the ones that I live for now. No part of my single life has ever come close to what I have with them. I could say I’d die for them, but that isn’t quite right. I would flip Heaven and Earth upside down to be with them. I would search from deepest trench to highest mountain for them. I would trek across scorching deserts and frozen tundra for them. They are my life.

So, General Conference is here and gone again

9 Oct

This weekend, I had 2 of my kids, and on Saturday, we were too busy to see General Conference, but I was able to tune in on Sunday. This year, there were rumors of some powerful revelation which was to be announced. It turns out that the only announcement which can be called a ‘revelation’ was that the minimum age for missionaries has gone down.

This announcement has been the cause of great joy in the families of those who have prospective missionaries, and has drawn much scorn from ex-Mormons and anti-Mormons. The families of prospective missionaries see it as a lessening of what must seem like an eternity of waiting until their son (or daughter) can go on a mission. No more having to wonder about what to do with the year after graduating from high school (at least for boys). It also relieves the teenage level stigma that the only girls who go on mission are those who cannot marry (since Mormons tend to marry very young).

The other side sees this as removing that critical year that boys have to experience the world and decide for themselves if a mission is right for them. Conspiracy theorists see this as a way to keep the boys indoctrinated, because they won’t have the year to think for themselves and “wake up”. Feminists see the decision to decrease the age for women as being a way to prevent them from getting a degree that they may want, because after a mission, a woman’s job should be to find a husband and raise a family (according to the church).

I, personally, see this decision as a mistake. I think of teenagers, even 18 year olds (perhaps especially) as lacking critical maturity that they need to effectively understand the world that is outside of their Ward boundaries. If you ask me, both genders should have to wait until they are 21 to get into the mission field. Also, I would prefer that instead of the crash course that they get at the MTC (Missionary Training Center), they should be enrolled in courses at BYU (or similar school) to get the equivalent of at least an Associate’s degree in the scriptures and public speaking. That is my two cents though, and I am hardly a general authority. It isn’t as if they can’t afford it. They built a several billion dollar shopping mall, and have an income of several billion dollars.

What makes me happiest?

9 Oct

After being depressed for much of ny life, it is nice to be able to even say that I am happy. I am definitely  happiest around my family. I am certainly not a perfect father or husband. Though I often day dream of being that perfect, omni-understanding dad that they show on tv who always says the right thing, never yells, and always makes everything ok. I also have a day dream of being the tv husband, who never yells, always helps out around the house, and is capable of fixing anything that goes bad or gets broken, as well as reassuring insecurities and getting excited about accomplishments.

I am not that dad or that husband. I yell. I try to make things right, though it doesn’t always work. I rarely say the right thing. I don’t help out near as much as I should. I’m actually better at fixing broken things than I’d thought I would be, but not as well as I’d like to. I suck at reassurance and excitement. I know that a lot of this comes from my past, but one would think that it’s time to get over it and be that super-dad-husband-guy.

So what makes me happy? I love to teach my kids, and then watch them keep doing, and get better at, the things I’ve taught them. Like my youngest son, who when he was five, going on six, was still reliant on his training wheels. One day, while we were camping, I removed the training wheels, and spent about three hours trying to teach him to ride his bike. He continued to practice after that day, refusing to put back on the training wheels, and now he is an expert. Every time I ride my bike with my family, and see him riding along trying his best to keep up with his older siblings, that makes me happy.

When I hear about a situation, or an idea, and I analyze it and come with all kinds of details on how it can work or be made better, that makes me happy. There have been several instances when I was playing a game with friends of mine, and I come up with a brilliant idea. There is another friend of mine who is trying to develop a video game. He stated his initial idea and I have been rambling off a bunch of ideas ever since. There are also the times when I just think of great ideas that I would like to make happen, though they rarely come to pass.

Building or repairing something makes me happy. I don’t often get to build things, especially the things that start out as my ideas. I do, however, get to repair things on occasion, and that makes me happy. I recently did a repair on our washing machine, which considering that I had no formal training, I thought was pretty cool that I was able to do properly.

Hanging out with my family and friends makes me happy. We don’t actually have to be playing a game, though it helps to do something, because I suck at talking if it isn’t a subject that I’m not directly interested in. It is nice to be around people that I love and can count on.

Also, something that I enjoy doing, even if it isn’t necessarily something that makes me happy, is analysing data and extrapolating. My favorite tool for that sort of thing is Excel so far, though I have used other tools. I’ve used it for an analysis of the effects of certain variables on the value of vehicles using Kelly Blue Book, and more recently, I’ve analyzed the calorie burning rate for certain activities using the Health Status Calorie Burn Calculator.

If I could apply all that to a career, I would have it made and consider myself the richest man in the world. I have a family though, and it isn’t easy to take the risk of not making enough money to support them, or give up the insurance that they need. The job I have doesn’t quite give enough money to support us without my wife’s income, which is less stable than mine, but it doesn’t have decent benefits otherwise. I could sure use one of those million dollar ideas.

What if: Clothes were strictly a survival thing

26 Sep

I’m not asking what would happen if suddenly everyone thought it would be cool to only wear clothes when environmental conditions would create exposure dangers. What I’m asking is what if it was always that way. What if wearing clothes in public, when not strictly necessary, were as taboo as not wearing clothes in public is now.

How would gender roles and identity develop differently? Would pornography have ever developed? Would talk of sex have the stigma that it does now? How would it affect the frequency of rape and other sexual assaults and harassment? With clothing seen as merely a necessity for certain situations, how would the fashion industry develop differently? Would the exploitation of human models and the expectation of unhealthy diets used to develop and maintain those looks still come about, or would us being forced to see and be seen by everyone create a different attitude about the human body? How would eating disorders develop differently? How would the cosmetics industry develop differently? Surely there are a million other applicable questions that can be asked of this mental exercise.

Before answering them however, you must take into account how much of your view of nudity is based off of cultural influences. If tomorrow, everyone became a nudist, some of your more negative reactions may actually come to pass. That is because our attitudes about the human body have long been established. In order to properly answer those questions,  you would have to erase at least 6000 years of social standards, cultural influences, and public expectations, and focus just on human nature as your starting point. It is certainly a difficult task to separate nature from nurture for this task, but I but I believe it is possible.

Obviously sex drive is one aspect of humans which would be available and important for consideration, and based solely on that aspect, some might doom our exercise to disaster; however, it is possible that constant exposure to the bare human form would lessen the likelihood of sex drive overcoming common decency and respect.

Let us, for a moment, consider alcohol. There is a somewhat similar desire to drink alcohol as there is to have sex. Both sex and alcohol have addictions and social taboos associated with them. In some cultures, it is perfectly acceptable, for people who America would consider underage, to imbibe alcohol in their own home. In America, there is a drinking age of 21. The difference is that in those other cultures, there isn’t near the amount of binge drinking and drunkenness. In America, teens are drawn to alcohol because of the taboo of underage drinking, and 21 year olds, who are finally able to drink legally, go overboard because they seem to think that they have been missing out on something.

So, the desire to have sex should still be there, but the novelty of sex won’t have as much draw, because naked bodies are constantly available for viewing.

Something to think about. I’ll likely add to this post as more things to consider come to mind.